Posts Tagged ‘John Toshack’

Gary Speed RIP

November 27, 2011

I heard about this terrible news earlier this afternoon.  As my football friends will testify, I was very sad when John Toshack stood down as the Manager of the Welsh National Team.  But I was always clear that I welcomed and supported the appointment of Gary Speed.  He was an incredible servant to his various football clubs – Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United – and also to the Welsh National team, for whom he was always one of my favourite players.  He was an incredible professional and role model for young people.  He was the type of player who would give 100% every game and be sure to shake hands with the referee and opponents afterwards.  A real gentleman and a deep thinker.

My family and I had the incredible privilege to watch the Welsh National Team train the evening before their game against England at Wembley Stadium back in September.  The highlight was when Gary Speed came over to speak to the various children.  One of the ladies with us had gone to the game against Montenegro at Cardiff the Friday before and a number of us were saying how hugely excited we were about the future of Welsh Football.  I remember my son being very excited and jumping up and down.  We had the following exchange:

Me [Speaking to my son]: Calm down Aidan!
Gary Speed [smiling]: He is fine.
Me: He is one for the future.

Gary Speed smiled again.  He was simply so nice and so kind.

Here is a picture of Gary Speed with two of my children.  I will always treasure it and the one time we had the terrific experience of meeting a wonderful man:

Gorffwys mewn Heddwch Speedo!
Rest in Peace Speedo!

John Toshack

September 9, 2010

My football hero!

He has been the manager of Wales since 2004.  I have previously mentioned him on the blog and drawn an analogy with his work in rebuilding the Welsh Football Team and the Government rebuilding this country in a number of ways.

There is a Press Conference at lunchtime today and it is expected that he will resign.  The performance against Montenegro last Friday was not good but the job he has done has been brilliant.  I have huge respect for people who take on the hardest of tasks and keep with it when the going gets tough and people get on their back.  Sometimes, there are no short-term fixes.  He polarised opinion, as this article points out, more than any other football manager I have known but he had my respect and admiration throughout.

My hope is that the lunchtime statement is not a resignation but this is unlikely.

Great win today….

June 6, 2009

….for both England & Wales in the football.   The Welsh beat Azerbaijan away with the only goal of the game.  An excellent result considering the amount of injuries and lack of experience in the team.

Why do I mention this on my blog?  First, I am a football supporter and Wales are my team at an international level (though always cheer for England) so I am pleased.  Second, I am big fan of John Toshack and the job he is doing.  He knew when he took the job on that it would take many years to take the team to where he wanted it to be.  I have big respect for people like that.

The next Government will have an extremely tough job to turn around the economy etc and it will not happen overnight.  There is a parallel there between what the next Conservative Government needs to do for the economy and Country and what John Toshack needs to do for Welsh Football.  Of course, any blog readers not into football may think this is a strange posting?

I see this as an opportunity for our Party as there is a recognition and even appetite for some very tough decisions.